Kanpur/New Delhi: Even as search and rescue operations continue the death toll in the Kanpur train accident mounted to 133 on Monday. Over 200 others were injured when 14 coaches of Indore-Patna Express derailed in Kanpur rural area in the wee hours on Sunday due to suspected rail fracture.
Five teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) along with railway and army personnel spearheaded the rescue operations. However, the chances of pulling out more survivors appeared dim.
The disaster took place just a little after 3 am on Sunday when the passengers were jolted out of their sleep as the Patna-bound train 19321 jumped the tracks, badly damaging four ordinary sleeper coaches in which hundreds were trapped.
Of the four coaches, the S1 and S2 had telescoped into each other and most of the casualties have been in these two compartments. S3 and S4 coaches also suffered severe damage while an AC III tier coach was also affected but casualties in it were not heavy.
Among the dead, 62 have been identified. At least 20 are from Uttar Pradesh, 15 from Madhya Pradesh and six from Bihar and one each from Maharashtra and Gujarat.
Post-mortem of 27 identified bodies has been done and they were handed over to the families. Ambulance facilities were provided to the families of the victims to transport the bodies, officials said.
An Army man Prabhu Narayan Singh, Anil Kishore of BSF from Rohtas, Bihar, and UP police constable Lakhan Singh from Jhansi were among the dead.
A passenger who survived told journalists that the train stopped a couple of moments after 3 a.m. for unexplained reasons.
"It then suddenly picked up speed," the man said. "And then I got an eerie feeling that the train was rolling down a valley," he said.
"By the time I leant what had happened, some 20-25 people in my coach had been killed. A six-year-old girl was literally cut into two pieces," said the terrified man.
Swayambi Mishra, in her early 20s, said she was in S1 coach and did not know what had happened to her father.
A passenger in his 60s added: "God saved me. But most of the people who were with me in the coach seem to have disappeared. I can't find them."
It was the worst train accident in the country after the May 2010 disaster in West Bengal involving Gyaneshwari Express in which some 170 people were killed.
Relief officials described gory scenes, with many passengers crushed by tonnes of steel as several coaches rolled over. Gas cutters were used to rip through the coaches to take out the bodies and the wounded.
President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vice President Hamid Ansari, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and a host of other leaders condoled the loss of lives in the train tragedy.
While Yadav announced compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the kin of each of the dead in the accident, Modi sanctioned Rs 2 lakh. On his part, the Railway Minister enhanced the ex-gratia grant from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 3.5 lakh to the families of the dead.
The UP government will give Rs 50,000 to those seriously injured and Rs 25,000 for those with simple injuries.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who visited the injured in hospitals in Kanpur Urban, announced Rs 2 lakh for kin of each of the deceased and Rs 50,000 for the injured.
Prabhu visited the injured in hospital late in the evening.
"A high-level inquiry is on. We have mobilised our resources from all over the country. All our GMs have also reached the spot.
"We are trying our best to provide all kind of help to the injured. The immediate task ahead of us is to provide relief to people and help them in every way possible. I request you all to help and assist in the relief operation," he said.
Meanwhile, a special train with the passengers who survived the disaster and could travel reached Patna on Monday morning.
With agency inputs